Black smoke billowed in downtown Williams Lake that could be seen from Highway 97 as firefighters remained on the scene of what appeared to be an aggressive fire this morning (Friday) in downtown Williams Lake.

The fire on historic Oliver Street in Williams Lake has left two businesses fully destroyed.

(R Dyok, staff)

Owner of Diamonds and Dust Jessica Boate, who lives in Kelowna, said she learned of the fire through social media.

“I phoned my business partner and she was just completely beside herself, almost in hysterics,” Boate said.

“So I’m going to come up and deal with it, and hopefully aid the investigation. There’s been a couple of calls within the area of other suspicious activity, so hopefully with the investigation that they’ve done with the two other attempts of arson, as well as the investigation in the suspicious activity over last week, hopefully we can nail this down and find out who did this because it’s extremely dangerous.”

“I’m so, so grateful that nobody’s hurt physically,” Boate added.

Also destroyed was New World Cafe.

Owner Sue Lachance said the building had to be demolished to save the rest of the block.

“Obviously very sad,” Lachance said.

(R Dyok, staff)

“It’s sad for me and my family and our staff, and it’s really sad for the community because it was a special spot because there’s a lot of history here.”

Fire Chief of the Williams Lake Fire Department Erick Peterson confirms the fire is now under control.

He said they received the call at about 5:24 Friday morning and that crews responded and saw smoke and flames coming out of the front roof of Diamonds and Dust.

Peterson said due to the nature of the fire the Department will be working with the Williams Lake RCMP and launching a full investigation.

28 firefighters from the Williams Lake Fire Department, nine firefighters from 150 Mile Fire Department, and six firefighters from Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department responded.

“From the barbershop on has been saved,” Peterson said.

“The fire is now under control at this point and we don’t expect any further damage.”

With files from Rebecca Dyok, MyCaribooNow